In commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman joined Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, and Common Cause Board Chair Dr. Bilal Sekou to call for preserving voting rights and expanding access to voter registration.
To make registration more efficient and create a more accurate voter file, proposed legislation would create web-based voter registration for Connecticut citizens who have a valid and current driver’s license; allow for Election Day registration to improve voter turnout; and call for absentee ballots to be governed by statute, which would give legislators the ability to adopt laws that address voters who cannot get to polling locations on Election Day. The legislation would also increase penalties on any effort to block or impede voter access.
“Today, I can think of no better statement to make in memory of Dr. King than to expand and assure access to voting rights, given everything he stood and worked so hard for,” said Governor Malloy, in a prepared statement. “While some states are suppressing voter turnout, we are moving in the opposite direction and working to improve access to elections and align our electoral system with 21st century technology. Voting is a great responsibility, and an enormous opportunity, and, following in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we have an obligation to make every effort to preserve citizens’ access to the polls.”
“Voting is power, and these reforms will give more Connecticut residents the power to decide who they want to represent them in government,” said Lt. Governor Wyman. “That means more of our residents will have a voice in how their tax dollars are spent, what kind of health care system we have, how their children are educated, and so many other aspects of their lives. This is a proposal that will allow their voices to be heard in a place where it truly matters – the voting booth – and the importance of that cannot be overstated.”
“In the spirit of Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., we have a tremendous opportunity this year to expand access to the ballot box to the many citizens of our state who face barriers to voting because their busy working lives make it difficult to register or appear at their polling place on Election Day,” said Secretary Merrill, in a prepared statement. “Many states have already made these reforms and by taking these important steps forward we can include a younger generation of voters and expand participation in our democracy.”
The proposals will be introduced for the legislative session beginning on February 8th.